Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Fuck Buttons, Tarot Sport (2009)


John at SFSignal asked me (along, of course, with many others) for my pick of 2009 SF Bests; and as well as emailing him with my favourite SF novel, story collection and film/tv title I said this: 'Music: well, the adolescent who lives in my cranium pulling the levers says Muse's The Resistance. But the still small voice wants to go with Super Furry Animals' Dark Days, Light Years. I think I should listen to the still small voice.' Ah, but since then, I have bought Tarot Sport, which is a marvellous piece of music, and as sciencefictional as all get out. It's possible I've spoken too soon, and that this album trumps both Muse and the Furries.

It is urgent, instrumental electronica, bristling with atmosphere and reach and space; only the fact that its not rock stops it being spacerock. 'Surf Solar', the open track, skitters and swerves for over ten minutes through the solar chromosphere: the perfect embodiment of future space high-jinks. 'Rough Steez' is a heavy-duty mechanical entity, taller than skyscrapers and built to stomp; it approaches the Platonic ideal of robot music. On 'The Lisbon Maru' a chuggy, onward moving rhythym track starts up (I'm assuming 'Maru' in a spaceshiplike, Kobayashi-Maru sense); and, as if building to escape velocity, this same rhythm speeds and intensifies on the remaining four tracks: somewhere between the percussion of the Talking Heads' 'Road to Nowhere' and Haysi Fantaysee's 'John Wayne Is Big Leggy', it captures the galloping, kinetic energy of our most splendidly adolescent of genres. 'Olympians' is patently real-Martian (rather than, say, faux-Grecian), with a nice vibe of beefed-up, early, when-they-were-still-cool OMD about it; 'Space Mountain' is, well, mountainous; and the closing track 'Flight of the Feathered Serpent' takes us on a lengthy and marvelous journey.

6 comments:

StuPC said...

You know, Dr Roberts, I've listened to this album quite a few times in recent weeks and never thought "science fiction!" whilst doing so - but the connection, since you've pointed it out, is blindingly obvious!
I saw them play live a couple of years ago, and whilst I'm really getting a bit too old for this sort of thing they were absolutely transcendentally bloody marvellous!

Martin said...

Yes, I saw them at a festival last year and immediately bought tickets for their next gig (at the now destroyed Astoria). I will add this to my Christmas list.

Shaun said...

Street Horrrsing was marvellous and Surf Solar is a great track, though I've yet to pick this one up.

Fuck Buttons as SFnal music is probably the most interesting thing I've seen said about them since 'pop outfit with the trappings of noise rather than noise outfit with the trappings of pop' (which sounds obvious, but...).

redrichie said...

I was recommended Oneohtrix Point Never by a friend recently, who compared them to Emeralds playing Boards of Canada tunes (as it happens a pretty fair assessment).

Incidentally, for anyone *not* familiar with either of those two...do check 'em out.

Anyway, point is, I later saw Oneohtrix Point Never being recommended to fans of Fuck Buttons...give 'em a try!

http://www.myspace.com/pointnever

http://www.hansonrecords.net/catalog.php (Solar Bridge is particularly good - kinda Klaus Schulze-y)

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